Task 3 – Human Presence Portrait

For the third task build around the theme of Human Presence I had to make portraits of the people that populate my chosen location.

Your focus of photographic interest in task three is to make images of the people that populate your chosen location. Your approach may be that of a documentary practitioner or you may choose to develop your practical approach to portraiture. Whichever; your decisions, experiments and practical research should be detailed in throughout and supported by your sketchbook/diary/blog. 

Your images can be made in situ or away from the site (whichever you prefer), naturally/ artificially lit or a combination thereof. 

You should again apply the knowledge garnered throughout Level One, drawing on inspiration from the range of artists and practitioners so far covered as well as your own research and investigations. You should continue to develop your own practice within the module and communicate your unique vision of the world.

I got attracted by a particular space in the house I live in. The garage; which is our landlord’s storage room is filled with old furniture and tools. I thought of this place and start imagining stories I could around it. I imagined that it could be a cabin in the woods and the person who occupies it. Then I thought of murder stories and crime. I decided then to start applying my imagination into this space.

With great help and inspiration from fellow photographer Ioana Bultoc we started the project. It’s really great working with other creative people because you can share your vision or help them out in theirs. Ioana helped a lot giving ideas and of course taking the photographs. I mostly operated the light meter and the lights, as well as act. My imaginations were built around a male personality, which would either leave isolated in the woods or capable to murder someone. Because my planning wasn’t thorough and I didn’t have a story board my ideas were spread everywhere in the room, without any actual goal. So we ended up having a hybrid of those two ideas.
 

Let’s get to the technical domain of this task. We used two Bowens 750 watts heads fitted with a soft box and a snoot, occasionally with a honeycomb for more direct lighting. The battery pack came handy at the last bit of the shooting. We used two Pulsar triggers, one fitted on the Canon 5D Mark II and the second one on one of the heads. The other head was triggered by the light sensor on it (cell). A tripod was needed for many of the shots, as well as a 50mm prime lens for some of the portraits. The 24-105mm lens which comes with the 5D kit tends to distort the images because of its wide angle, so I tried to avoid it. The light meter was one of our most important tools mostly in mixed lighting. We used mixed lighting when we wanted to illuminate both environment and the character but as well as when we introduced the second character in the plot. Other important equipment when on location is batteries as well as some coffee, especially when shooting for more than four hours.

This task was not just creative for us but a good application of the lighting kit, since we were introduced to it less than a month before. Gregory Crewdson’s work was quite inspirational as he is well known for his elaborately staged scenes.

Special thanks to Alexis for helping us out with his performance.

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